Mousy teacher Cornelia (Close) is in possession of a 300-year-old Dutch painting called "Girl in Hyacinth Blue." It's possibly a Vermeer but Cornelia is afraid to find out since she may not be the legal owner. Still Cornelia would like new art professor Richard (Gibson) to give her his opinion. But the painting's history (told in flashbacks) has caused its previous owners trouble as well. Based on the novel by Susan Vreeland.